Saturday, August 18, 2012
Front porch thoughts on a cool Shenandoah Valley morning
It's a beautiful morning in the Shenandoah Valley with temperatures in the mid-60s and bright sunshine. Coffee cups in hand, we are rocking on the porch enjoying this prelude to fall. The kids just pulled out heading to Colonial Williamsburg to take in some Virginia history before relishing the fun of Busch Gardens' Old Country as they wring every drop of enjoyment out of their season passes.
Summer has been fun. We had a shorter period of dryness this year than usual ... brown, crackly-dry grass around the 4th of July greened up shortly afterward as the summer thunderstorms found their way to our corner of Augusta County. The storms have continued since and the grass has been lush and green. Yard maintenance has been a little higher this summer because of the moisture -- not complaining, mind you -- as we have trimmed tree branches, wisteria vines, bushes, and weeded flower beds.
The garden vegetables have been plentiful with a variety of peppers as well as tomatoes that have left us wishing we could enjoy their freshness year round. The Yukon Gold potatoes have been yummy while sweet potatoes are now growing in their place. Fresh herbs and other veggies will be missed as they play out but fall crops of pumpkins, gourds, and a second planting of sunflowers are thriving.
This morning the crickets are loudly chirping, a familiar sound in August, while crows are squawking in the far-off woods. The continuous, loud hummm of a hummingbird working the wisteria blooms and flowers in front of me as well as the sounds of nearby song birds are adding to the natural chorus of this early morning symphony.
I am such a Virginia girl ... born and raised ... with many Virginia summers tucked away in my memory. I'm in love with the history of my native state, the beauty of it all ... Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, the beaches, the Northern Neck and the "rivah" experience ... our scenic state parks and national recreational areas. We grew up with the James River in our back yards and watched the ever-growing Richmond skyline on the banks of that mighty river, and spent days exploring Colonial Williamsburg or the Blue Ridge Mountains or nearby Washington, DC.
As I scan the mountain ridges covered with the thick green of a Virginia summer, the familiarity is comforting knowing I'm home in the state that I love. Another cup of tea, bare feet propped up on the porch railing with my laptop balanced on my knees, the long sleeves of my Oxford shirt feel good in the morning coolness and I realize it won't be long before we'll need a sweater to counter the approaching fall temperatures.
Until then, I'll soak in the remaining days of summer, the warmth of sunny days, the simple beauty of white stalky Queen Anne's Lace and brilliant blue chickory blossoms along roadways and in nearby fields. Most of all, I'll slow down to savor the closeness of family and good friends. For some there are no tomorrows ... I don't want to squander my todays.
Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
Cross-posted at Bearing Drift